Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis stressed that the EU’s Nobel Peace Prize was an assessment of issues of fundamental value, which sometimes went unnoticed by us or were even ignored.
“A Europe without war, one Europe, European solidarity, support of economic growth in member states and the achieved level of prosperity are becoming self-understandable to us,” the Minister said.
Ažubalis stressed that the EU was a powerful driving force for economic growth and democratic reforms in Lithuania and other countries, which had sought the EU membership in the 1990s and later. The EU is also the world’s largest provider of aid to third countries, their economies and democratization, the fight against poverty and discord.
“Lithuania’s joining of the European Union is undoubtedly one of the most significant events in our country’s history. We became members of the most prosperous club, our citizens are enjoying all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter, and, most importantly the country contributes to the shaping of the EU policies as an equal partner.
The Minister emphasized that at the moment it was very important to promote democratic transformation in the Eastern neighbourhood countries through their cooperation with the European Union.
“Today we are discussing the modalities – what, how much and in what form - we expect to receive from the EU. However, without the EU we would be left alone, if we still existed. Therefore, this Nobel Peace Prize only reaffirms that the European Union, which we joined in 2004 and will preside over next year, is meaningful and has a future,” the Foreign Minister said.
The Nobel Peace Prize obligates Lithuania to make further effort and during the Presidency in 2013 to actively seek to strengthen the EU’s role in achieving political and economic stability in the world.